I have an article published in the current issue of Red magazine. It’s a very personal story, and one that for years I shared with only my closest family and a few friends. I kept quiet about it for a number of reasons: initially, because it felt too raw to want to share with anyone other than my very nearest and dearest. And later, when the intensity of it had subsided, I felt like I didn't want to be defined by it and just wanted to get on with my life again.
But as the years went by, I came across so many people who were going through, or had been through, the same thing. It no longer seemed right to keep my story so hidden. For when we reveal our stories, we help others know they are not so alone. And when you’re caught in the heat of a challenge, it’s incredibly powerful knowing someone else has walked through that same fire and come out the other end.
It can be tempting to want to present only the polished and veneered version of ourselves to the world. The one in which our oh so human ‘messiness’ stays buried beneath the surface because exposing it would make us feel awkward, embarrassed, even ashamed. But when we have the courage to bring to light our tender vulnerability, I think we allow both ourselves and others to heal. It helps dissolve the taboos that still exist around so many subjects - addiction, physical and mental illnesses, abuse, to name just a few. And we can all start to feel less isolated on this complex journey that is life. If we only offer out the glossy version of ourselves, we all end up hiding behind walls. People don't know who we truly are. And we can easily delude ourselves that everyone else we know is gliding effortlessly though life and we’re the only one struggling or who have a particular issue. That can be a lonely place.
That said, of course there’s a time and a place for opening up. Only we can discern when and to whom that is. Or if we even want to divulge particular aspects of our lives at all.
I chose to write about my experience because I enjoy the process of doing so, and in the hope that my words can help a few people out there. To tell the truth, a part of me does feel a bit uncomfortable about being so honest, but there’s a bigger part that trusts it’s empowering for both me and others. If you’d like to read my article, you can do so here!